Most of us who hear or read of a disaster think, “This
will never happen to me.” It’s best to be prepared whether disaster
strikes or not and Animal Humane wants to help you. The following is the
Animal Humane Disaster Preparedness checklist for your home and car.
Please remember to always take your animals with you when
there’s an emergency. If disaster strikes and you cannot get to your home,
use a pre-planned “buddy system” and call your neighbor to get your pet.
In case of emergency call the closest animal humane
shelter serving your area. Be prepared!
1. Keep at least one week supply of pet food in an air tight container.
2. Buy pop top cans small enough for one feeding since you may not have a
way to refrigerate partially used cans. Rotate food at least once every
3. Include a feeding dish; spoon, and a hand crank can opener in case you
do not have pop-tops.
4. If tap water is not suitable for humans to drink, it is not safe for
animals to drink so have at least a (1) one week supply at all times and
store it in plastic containers and keep in a cool dark place. Rotate water
once every (2) two months.
5. Have disposable pooper scooper bags for dogs.
6. For cats you’ll need a small litter box, a supply of cat litter, and
plastic bags for cleaning the litter box
7. Have a small container of dish soap for cleaning and a roll of paper
8. Have identification on your pet at all times and keep an extra collar
with current ID in your disaster preparedness kit
9. Make sure your current address and phone number are on any and all of
your pets’ ID tags (Animals that come into shelters during a disaster with
I.D. and/or microchip have a greater chance of being reunited with their
10. Keep a harness for both dogs and cats in your kit. A dog can slip out
of a collar but not a harness and cats can be walked should they be
confined for a long period of time
11. Make sure you have a carrier or collapsible crate to transport your
pet or to keep it in while you are displaced; it should be large enough
for a litter box, food, and water
12. If your dog or cat is on long-term medications, always have at least a
(2) two week supply since you may not be able to refill it in a disaster
13. Keep copies of each animal’s medical records in your kit
14. Keep a first aid book and kit for your pet with your supplies
15. Include current photos of your pet(s) AND include pictures of YOU with
your pets to show proof of ownership if necessary
16. Keep some toys handy also
1. Keep many of the same items in your car that you do in your home
however keep the smaller sizes. Include the following items in your car:
* Water dish AND food dish
* Medical records
* Animal ID and photos
2. You should always have at both your home and in your
car: cash on hand, a flashlight and a portable radio with plenty of
batteries and the locations of nearest shelters
3. Because human evacuation shelters do not allow animals,
locate a place where you can take your pet. Places to consider include vet
clinics, boarding kennels, animal shelters, or the home of a friend. Some
hotels/motels will allow small animals temporarily.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. You owe it to your animals
to plan ahead!!!
If you are forced to evacuate your home, don't leave your
pet behind. If it's not safe for you, it's not safe for your pet. Most
disaster relief shelters do not admit pets, so you'll need other options.
Think ahead. Find out if any motels or hotels in the region accept guests
with pets. Made a list of area veterinarians and kennels that might board
your pet. Get together with friends or nearby relatives to make reciprocal
arrangements for temporary pet housing if your home is unlivable.
If for some reason, you absolutely must leave your dog or
cat behind, bring them inside; do not leave a dog tied outside. Put a
highly visible sign in the window to notify rescue crews to the presence
of pets; leave plenty of water in a large open container; leave food in a
dispenser-style bowl (so your pet can't eat it all at once); and do not
tie or cage your dog or cat.
Make certain all your pets wear identification tags. Dogs
and cats should wear collars with tags; birds can wear leg rings. Another
way to identify your pet is with a tattoo or microchip. Many
veterinarians, and some humane societies and animal welfare agencies,
provide tattooing or microchipping services. Register your pet's number
with a tattoo or microchip registration service.
Since your telephone may not work in the wake of a
disaster, your pet's ID tag should include a friend or relative's phone
number as well as your own. Keep a supply of write-on ID tags, in case
you're evacuated. Make sure your pet is wearing a tag with its new
address, however temporary.
Have several close-up photos and a record of your pet's
size, weight and special markings. If your pet is lost, you can use this
information to prepare posters and flyers. It will also help in
identifying you as the owner if your pet is found.
Put together an emergency supply kit for your pet.
1. A week's supply of food and water for each pet, stored in lightweight
containers, like plastic bags and bottles. If your dog or cat eats canned
food, don't forget a can opener. Bird seed spoils; replace it every six
months. Water doesn't keep indefinitely either; it should be replaced
every few months. Store one quart of water for each 10 pounds of body
weight per pet, per day. Don't forget lightweight food bowls.
2. Copies of your pet's up-to-date vaccination certificates.
3. A fresh supply of any medications your pet needs, and copies of any
4. Pet first aid supplies.
5. Cat litter and a kitty pan.
6. A leash and collar for each dog.
7. A leash, harness and carrier for each cat.
8. A blanket for extra warmth and paper towels for clean-ups.
9. Some familiar toys.
10. A list of emergency telephone numbers-veterinarians, boarding kennels,
shelters and humane societies.
11. A supply of cash to pay for emergency boarding.
Are you prepared to take care of your pets when a disaster
strikes? If not, NOW is the time to stock up on the items that you will
need so you will be ready. Don't put off doing what you should do now! It
may just make the difference between keeping your pets alive or losing
your pet when a disaster strikes.
Shopping List For Pets
Here are the supplies that you should have on hand in a
disaster kit for pets. Adjust amounts according to the number of pets you
1. Stock at least an extra week's supply for disasters at all times
2. Get the brand your pet is used to, and offer it at as close to the
normal time as possible. Maintaining its normal routine, as best you can,
will minimize the stress it may be feeling.
3. If you use canned food, be sure to have a hand-crank can opener, or buy
flip-top cans. (Buy cans small enough to be used at one feeding. You may
not have a way to properly refrigerate a partially used can of food, and
you should not use food that has been left out.)
4. If you use dry food, store it an airtight, waterproof container. Also
have an extra feeding dish and a spoon for scooping/mixing food.
5. Rotate food every three months.
6. If you use canned food, reduce the normal amount by half (supplement
with dry food) to reduce the likelihood of your pet getting diarrhea.
1. Stock at least a week's supply for disasters at all times.
2. Store in plastic containers in a cool, dark place. Rotate it at least
every two months.
3. Do not let animals drink flood water. If officials have issued a "boil
water" warning, the water from your tap is not safe for you or your
animals. If you are drinking bottled or purified water during a disaster,
that is what your pet should be drinking.
1. Have an extra small litter box and litter scoop in your supplies, plus
a week's supply of cat litter and small plastic bags for disposing of
1. Have a pooper scooper and plastic bags for disposing of waste. You may
want to purchase some disposable pooper scooper bags at a pet supply
1. Have a small container of dish soap and disinfectant, plus at least 4
rolls of paper towels.
COLLARS AND IDENTIFICATION TAGS
Cats- A breakaway collar is recommended. It is designed to slip over a
cat's head should it get caught on something.
Dogs- Do not keep a choke collar on your dog all the time,
as it might accidentally get caught on something and cause the dog to
1. Have a properly fitting collar and tag on your pet at
all times, and have an extra collar in your supplies.
2. The collar and/or tag should include your name, home phone number, and
3. Also have a spare temporary tag in your supplies that you can write on,
in case you will be living somewhere else temporarily. This tag should
include your name and temporary address and phone number. (In addition to
a collar and tag, you may also wish to consider micro chips and tattoos as
permanent forms of ID.)
4. Addresses are important. Remember, the phones may not be working during
a disaster and its aftermath.
CARRIER FOR CAT EVACUATION
In the event you must evacuate, have a cat carrier
assembled and ready to go, with a shoe-box size litter box and food and
water dishes that fit in the carrier. (An "Evacsak" is an alternative to a
carrier. It is similar to a pillow case, but is a much more safe and
secure way to transport a small animal. Evacsacs take up a lot less room
than carriers, and if you have several cats, you can get a lot more of
them into a car. To purchase these, contact Animal Care Equipment and
Services at 1-800-338-ACES.)
1. Have a collapsible wire cage to house your cat if it needs to be
evacuated and/or confined during a disaster. (Remember, exterior walls can
fall down and windows can break, so you need a way to keep your cat safely
2. Be sure the cage is large enough to give the cat room to spread out,
with extra space for a food and water dish, plus a litter box.
3. If your cat plays with toys, include some to help keep it entertained.
1. Have a collapsible wire crate or plastic airline crate on hand to
transport your dog if you need to evacuate, and/or to house it during a
disaster. (Remember, exterior walls can fall down and windows can break,
so you need a way to keep your dog safely confined.)
2. Be sure the crate is large enough for your dog to lie down comfortably,
with extra space for a food and water dish.
3. You may also wish to include a chew toy to help keep it entertained if
it needs to be confined for a long time
HARNESS AND LEASH
1. Have a properly fitting harness and leash in your supplies so that if
your cat must be confined in a cage for an extended period of time, you
can take it out for exercise.
1. Have a properly fitting harness and at least a 6-foot leash in your
supplies for walking your dog. Disasters are stressful for dogs, and a
frightened dog can slip out of a collar, but not a harness.
STAKE-OUT CHAIN FOR DOGS
1. Have a stake-out chain for each dog in your household. Walls and fences
may come down during a disaster, and you may need to keep your dog
confined on a chain until repairs can be made.
2. If you don't have something to attach the chain to, get a stake that
screws into the ground. Be sure it is secure for the size dog you have.
Pet supply stores sell a variety of sizes.
3. Be sure to use a chain and not a leash that the dog can chew through.
4. Be sure the chain is long enough to let the dog move around, but not so
long that it might get tangled around something and cause the dog to choke
5. Be sure there is shelter from the elements within the dog's reach.
6. Do not chain the dog in a place where it could fall off of something
(like an elevated porch) and hang itself.
1. Keep your pet's vaccinations current, for protection in case it needs
to be housed with other animals during a disaster. Keep a copy of its
medical records, including vaccinations, with your disaster supplies.
2. Before a disaster strikes, check to see whether your veterinarian has a
disaster plan. If not, find one who does. You need to know where to take
your pet if it needs medical care during a disaster.
3. Knowing in advance where to take a critically injured animal may save
1. If your pet is on long-term medication, always have on hand at least a
week's supply. (Your vet may not be able to fill a prescription for a
2. If the medicine must be refrigerated, have an ice chest to store it in,
in case your electricity goes off. You can usually get ice from a Red
FIRST AID KIT
Have in your supplies a basic first aid kit. Basic items for pets include:
* First-aid book for cats
* Antiseptic wipes (1 package)
* Conforming bandage (3" x 5")
* Emollient cream (1 container)
* Absorbent gauze pads (4" x 4")
* Tweezers and scissors
* Absorbent gauze roll (3" x 1 yd.)
* Instant cold pack
* Cotton-tipped applicators (1 small box)
* Latex disposable gloves (several pairs)
* Properly fitting muzzle for dogs
1. Place photos in resealable plastic bags in case you need to post them
in the rain.
2. Include yourself in some photos as proof of ownership.
3. Keep all the photos with the important insurance papers that you would
take with you if you had to evacuate.
COMFORTING YOUR PET
Remember to comfort your pet during a disaster. It is as frightened as you
are, and having you near to give it a hug will help keep it calm. (It will
probably help you too.) If your pet is not ready to be comforted, do not
force it! Let it come to you when it is ready.
IF YOUR PET IS LOST DURING A DISASTER
Know where animal shelters or animal rescue organizations are located in
your area. You may need to visit them to look for your dog. It is
important to look for your dog as soon as you realize it is gone, as some
shelters may not be able to house large numbers of displaced animals for a
very long time. Take your photos.
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